In time for Earth Day 2021, Dalia Burde, executive producer / founder of Avocados and Coconuts, offers up priceless tips for sustainable productions
At Avocados & Coconuts, every touchpoint of what we do is ‘green’ filtered. In putting this into practice, we’ve found that the most effective sustainable production practices have come out of a cultural evolution. For us, that means creating with a spirit of purpose, health, and wellness. As you look to improve your own green practices in honour of Earth Day, here are some tips and anecdotes that have worked for us.
A Green Culture Starts at the Dining Table
Whether it’s the meals we provide on set, or the nibbles we set out for client meetings, providing delicious, healthy, and responsibly-sourced-and-portioned nourishment eliminates significant food and packaging waste. The same goes for coffee, as we typically brew in-house – and when we do order out, we choose specialty coffee that’s ethically sourced. On set, also consider pre-screening crew members for dietary needs to ensure food doesn’t go uneaten and in the bin. In addition, we recently signed up for a paid service that collects all of our remaining food from a shoot and donates it to food banks and shelters. We let them know what day we are shooting and where, so they're prepared in advance for the pick-up.
We Have an App for That!
We are significantly eliminating paper waste through an in-house production app currently in beta. From pre-production to on-set, the app updates everything in real time without the need of printing materials over and over as a result of a simple change to production documents, such as design books, call sheets, storyboards, reports, and everything in between. We are excited to share it with the world, so stay tuned!
If you are aiming for net-zero waste on set, composting makes a huge difference. It helps to have more compost bins on set than trash cans. Once it’s a wrap, we separate the trash by hand, if not done correctly, and then load the compost on the truck and drive it to the city for disposal. We sweat the details of waste management very carefully and feel fortunate to have the resources in San Francisco to do it. The city is truly innovating waste management and their landfill has become somewhat of a landmark. Next time you’re in town, go see for yourself.
Disposable water bottles are still a struggle, but...
We are doing everything we can to remove this stain on our industry’s carbon footprint. While more and more productions are using reusable water bottles on set compared to 10 years ago, we’d like to get the number of single-use bottles down to zero. A best practice that has worked for us is gifting reusable bottles to all new clients, partners, and crew members. Before the shoot, everyone is politely reminded to come back with their bottle or bring their own. However, we always have a water pump on set and keep a few extra reusable bottles and compostable cups for those who forget theirs. In reminding them, it is an opportunity for us to positively educate people about the impact of plastic bottles and help them be more conscious.
The Pandemic Taught Us How to Actionably Reduce Waste
We have noticed less waste as a result of the need for faster, more efficient shoots - whether it’s from fewer people on set (less waste) or fewer people up in the air traveling for shoots and pitches (less emissions). We were already pushing these types of practices for the sake of the environment and budget-friendly productions for clients. They are seeing the benefits more clearly now.
Dalia Burde is executive producer / founder of Avocados and Coconuts